Weekly Blog: February 3, 2012

Army to Study Supplements

The United States Army is investigating whether dietary supplements containing an ingredient known as dimethylamylamine or DMAA may have contributed to the deaths of two soldiers last year. The soldiers had heart attacks during fitness exercises, according to an Army official.

The supplements have names like Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, and the DMAA ingredient is touted to increase energy, concentration and metabolism. DMAA is listed as a banned supplement by the World Anti-Doping Authority and several professional sports leagues. The supplements are widely available at retail shops and until recently, were available at stores on military bases in the United States.

Last summer, the United States Anti-Doping Agency issued a warning notice about DMAA.

According to the New York Times:

As a precaution, the Defense Department has removed all products containing DMAA from stores on military bases, including more than 100 GNC shops, pending the completion of an Army safety review, said Peter J. Graves, an Army spokesman.

Mr. Graves, the Army spokesman, said that DMAA had been identified in the toxicology reports of the two soldiers' deaths. He added that the Army had also received some reports of liver and kidney failure, seizures, loss of consciousness and rapid heartbeat in other military personnel who have used products containing DMAA. Mr. Graves said the Army was evaluating whether there were links between the use of the DMAA products and the reported health problems.

In a statement, USPlabs, the company that markets OxyElite Pro and Jack3d, claimed there was no medical evidence to suggest the products are dangerous when used as directed. The company said it stood by the safety of its products and was fully cooperating with the inquiry by the Defense Department.